Forgive Christine, elect Jo-Ann Davis

By Bulletin Staff –

Forgiveness is a foundation of Christianity and in the Catholic school system it certainly must prevail. That’s why the current Toronto Catholic District (Separate) School Board (TCDSB) trustee for Downtown, Christine LeBlanc-Miller, must be forgiven her several trespasses by the taxpayers she short changed.

Redemption for the now-provincially controlled Toronto Catholic school system is vital and fortunately a worthy candidate has appeared in the person of Jo-Ann Davis, a thoughtful, energetic young woman.

She is a senior associate with a Toronto-based global financial firm, daughter of a retired Separate School teacher and active in both Catholic and civic organizations. Davis is president of the Canadian International Council’s Toronto branch.

The current trustee, LeBlanc-Miller, disgraced herself and contributed to the disgrace of her school board, which was in such error that the province was forced to step in and take over its administration.

As a former chair of the board, she must accept some of the blame for the overall disarray.

No doubt aware that incumbents have the great advantage in any local election campaign, LeBlanc-Miller spent your money to constantly promote herself not only with paid ads in church bulletins, but also on the fronts of all the school buildings in her district.

The excuse was to inform parents she is their trustee; information a call to the school office would quickly provide at no cost.

Her name stayed on school buildings even when they were used as polling places.

She charged meals to you, even though school trustee is a public service to Toronto’s Catholic school children and minimally compensated by a small honourarium, but mainly by the opportunity to serve. It’s not a meal ticket.

She double-dipped into transportation funds, charging transit and cab fares while already receiving a car allowance. LeBlanc-Miller needs an opportunity to contemplate her actions and find a new opportunity to serve her community if she so desires.

And of course she needs the forgiveness of Catholic ratepayers, parents and children who have been so poorly served.

Her worthy replacement, Jo-Ann Davis, cites as her aims, if elected:

• Creating formal points in the process for the Catholic community to provide input before key decisions are made;

• Regular public Town Hall meetings;

• Transparent checks and balances and effective key internal controls of board processes;

• Greater partnerships between the board and government ministries and agencies, municipalities and community organizations to respond to local priorities and community needs.

In her statement of aims Davis says:

“Catholic trusteeship is a call to serve, and this extends to the trustee’s use of the public purse. For my part, any claimed personal expenses—which I expect to be few—will be published online, and will include both the claim and the reason for it. More broadly, the expense approval process should be reviewed for necessary controls, to eliminate future mismanagement.”

Jo-Ann Davis deserves to be elected as next TCDSB trustee for Downtown to help shepherd the board’s renewal back to self-management.